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Category: Products with a Purpose

  • The Future of Made in the USA

    This week we’re celebrating Makers with products Made in the USA. At The Grommet, we see American manufacturing through the lens of the final product. At a conference held by the Urban Manufacturing Alliance, we were able to see the progress being made in American manufacturing on the ground floor. Here are the issues we dug into.

    Access to Capital.  2.7% of female founders receive VC funding and it’s even less for minority business owners. The group advocated for alternative methods of financing like crowd funding and impact loans that have more generous results and are very effective in lifting small businesses off the ground.

    Physical Space. To combat this issue, cities and facilities are meeting in the middle. San Francisco has begun rolling out modular manufacturing spaces and across the country, micro-factories are popping up for companies looking at producing smaller batches of products before full-scale production.

    Education. Creating a product has never been easier, but many Makers enter the manufacturing world with limited knowledge. Manufacturers are being trained to help Makers understand this new realm regardless of their background. For the next generation, schools are focusing on technology and entrepreneurship programs. Two examples of that happening in Boston: BUILD and Fab Labs 4 America.

    Inclusivity. Entrepreneurship and the American Dream are evolving on a cultural level so policymakers and business leaders must make inclusivity a priority. Minority business owners seek representatives that look like them at the decision-making table. The more hurdles they face, the less likely they are to succeed and make an impact on their community. Beyond economic, it’s a trust-building issue. As the business world grows more diverse, that trust becomes more vital.

    There is plenty more we can and will dig into. If you have any stories or resources, we'd love to hear about them.

    And now, here are some of the American-made products from our site that are helping to make more American-made products possible.

    VideoStillV1_Jamstik

    1. Mobile guitar lessons

    Made in South Dakota, Jamstik+ lets you learn how to play the guitar at your own speed. The guitar neck complete with strings and frets plays through your iPhone, iPad, or Mac with free downloadable lessons.
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  • Packaging Design Tips for Your New Product

    New consumer products are entering the market at an increasingly rapid rate. Thanks to crowdfunding platforms and the accessibility and affordability of prototyping, it’s never been easier to launch a product.

    What most entrepreneurs don’t realize is that after the PR and sales high of crowdfunding or initial run of success wears off, sales typically slow. If you find yourself at this point, it’s time to start planning for “what’s next.”

    Packaging Design

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  • Support Makers Whose Values Align With Yours

    The Grommet is a place where you can shop by your values to make more impactful purchases. Look for these value symbols on the Grommets we launch.

    Made in the USA copy
    Here’s the place to find unique products made in the USA. These American-made products create jobs and opportunities for local communities.  Discover our Made in the USA products.

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    Shop by Values: Made in the USA
    Sustainable Living
    Discover eco-friendly products and accessories, including organic clothing, all-natural health and beauty aids and green jewelry designers. See all Sustainable Living products.
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    Shop by Values: Social Enterprise
    Handcrafted
    Explore handcrafted products, personal creations and one-of-a-kind items from artists around the world. If you’re the type of person who enjoys spending a day at the craft fair, learn how we're committed to the preservation of craft. We support local artisans, and we strive to help readers discover and buy handmade items online from these gifted entrepreneurs. Discover Handcrafted products.
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  • Buyers, Keepers: Our Made for a Lifetime Category

    We all know that if you buy something made with solid workmanship or quality materials, it’s going to last longer.

    But most of us have been on the verge of buying something and trying to decide if we should buy the less expensive product and hope it lasts—or should we spend a little more, knowing it will last and won’t have to be replaced . . . maybe ever?

    As our CEO Jules Pieri recounted in a recent Medium post:

    “Growing up in Detroit, my autoworker dad was firmly committed to buying the very products he built. He extended that behavior and his values to other household purchases. With four kids and one blue-collar income, we admittedly lived paycheck to paycheck. Yet my parents believed, ‘We don’t have enough money to buy cheap stuff.’ They saved up to buy quality, or did without.”

    Starting today, “Made for a Lifetime” joins The Grommet’s Personal Values categories of Crowdfunded, Handcrafted, Independent Makers, Made in the USA, Philanthropy, Social Enterprises, Sustainable Living, Tech & Innovation, and Underrepresented Entrepreneurs.

    Made-for-a-Lifetime_Blog

    Much like the rising ‘Buy me Once’ movement in the U.S. and Europe, many Grommet community members value high-quality, durable products. They want items that are made to last—and they’re willing to pay a little more for this benefit.

    But what does “Made for a Lifetime” specifically mean? That The Grommet Makers represented in this new collection will honor a lifetime repair/replace warranty. You can identify these products by our new diamond icon—as these are products are “as tough as diamonds.” Continue Reading

  • 9 Easy Ways To Be More Green

    Going "green" doesn't have to be overwhelming–a few small changes can add up to make a big impact. Here at The Grommet, we work with Makers who are mindful about the environment, and who are crafting eco-friendly products from natural materials, using sustainable production methods, and focusing on reducing their carbon footprint. They've  done all the hard work for you. So, if you're interested in making simple changes in the name of Mother Nature, read on.

    eco friendly products - Vejibag

    eco friendly products - Juice in the Box

    Add Some Green to Mealtime: Prep, Enjoy, and Store 

    The kitchen is a great place to make a few green upgrades. Ditch the plastic bags and try Vejibag, an ingenious produce keeper that’s made of American-grown organic cotton and hand-sewn in Maine. It gives produce the humidity it needs, keeping it fresh and crisp far longer than plastic. And while you're thinking of ways to use less plastic, get the kids involved by swapping their drink pouches for Juice in the Box. This reusable juice and drink box is made from Tritan plastic; BPA and Phthalate free. Its no leak container holds eight ounces and can be filled with your own beverages (which are often much healthier).

    Earth-In Canteen - eco friendly products

    Coverflex - eco friendly products

    If you're looking to ditch the disposable water bottle habit yourself, Earth-In Canteen is an elegant alternative. This beautiful clay vessel is Made in the USA, keeps water cool, and eliminates any metallic taste. You can even use it to store olive oil, vinaigrettes, wine, and more. And while you're at it, kicking the plastic habit for storing food just got a lot more convenient, thanks to these reusable food covers from Coverflex. They’re made from 100% food-grade silicone and designed to stretch, so you can fit them over all types of dishes, bowls, and pans. (Bonus, your cabinets will be a lot less cluttered once you remove all of those plastic storage containers.) Continue Reading

  • Makers Who Made It: 100 Stories of Starting a Business

    This past summer, as we were coming up on The Grommet’s seventh birthday in October, we had many conversations about all that The Grommet and our Makers had accomplished since it began in 2008—and wondering how to better document it.

    Even though The Grommet has been telling the stories behind the products for many years, we realized we wanted to tell the stories behind our Makers, inventors, and entrepreneurs—and the idea of publishing our very first book was born.

    Makers Who Made It: 100 Stories of Starting a Business is the result. We asked Grommet Makers to answer a series of questions about how, when, and why they developed a product. We required they answer one dozen questions—with the option to answer an additional 20 questions—and the answers starting flowing in.

    The Grommet ebook for Makers

    We were all impressed how so many of the contributors were so generous with their time (we know how busy they are!), with many answering far more questions than what we requested. They went above and beyond, sharing information on a wide variety of personal and professional topics to help give a complete picture on how to start and grow their own small business. Continue Reading

  • "Pop In" and Be a Part of a Grommet First

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    Just in time for the holidays, we're opening our first-ever Pop-In Shop and you're cordially invited. We've teamed up with local Retailer, Michelle Willey to set up shop within her storefront in Boston’s South End. 

    If you're like us, you're on the hunt for most unique gifts this year. By bringing our Grommets to this retail location, we are making it easier for you to support independent Makers this holiday season and purchase gifts that have meaning. We hope you accept our invitation to  experience what it means to “Give Differently” this year. Through our “Pop-In” experience, you will be able to touch, test, and purchase Grommets on-site as part of our installation within the shop. On the shelves, you will find popular items such as the instructive yoga mat by Yoga by Numbers, along side Boston-born and manufactured products like drink lids by Cuppowand custom handcrafted gold and silver jewelry by Dennis Higgins among others– all of which are created by independent Makers and have been vetted and approved by our Discovery Team.

    Our host and partner, the ethereal South End boutique Michelle Willey, is helping us bring this exciting project to life. If you're in the Boston area, stop by to start your holiday shopping with a collection of giftable Grommets. Not local? Browse our Pop-In collection that includes all of the unique gift ideas you’d find on the store shelves.

    Where:
    Michelle Willey
    8 Union Park Street, Boston, MA
    When:
    November 20 - December 24
    Hours
    Mon-Sat 11-6, Sun 12-5

    We will also be holding special events on the weekends. Be sure to join us for Small Business Saturday to receive complimentary gift wrapping when you #ShopSmall (and check back for news on future events).

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    wrapping-day

  • We Just Met Some of the Smartest Kids on Earth

    This past weekend, The Grommet crew arrived in the Big Apple with Grommets and passion in tow. As we neared the New York Hall of Science grounds and the majestic rockets of Rocket Park came into view, we knew we were in for an adventure. We had arrived at the greatest show and tell on Earth (the World Maker Faire).

    MakerFaireBooth

    Up went our booth, crafted from wood and metal. Out came our Grommets, packed into carefully curated boxes. PocketMonkey, Speaker Creature, Mist, Pin Pals, IN1 Case, Gigs 2 Go, Craftholic, KeySmart… For a “red carpet” welcome, we rolled out a Yoga by Numbers mat. At 10 AM each day, the floodgates opened to this part amusement park, part fairgrounds, and part technology event. The crowds swarmed the expansive grounds and many curious minds hitting our booth with wide, inquisitive eyes. Visitors from all over the globe, eager to learn about us, crept close with a wonderfully recurrent turn of phrase: “What is The Grommet?”

     

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  • Updates from The Showroom Floor At NY NOW

    We recently attended  NY NOW™  where we set up our  Wholesale Exhibit and  brought along several of our Makers  to showcase their products, giving Retailers an opportunity to learn about them directly from the Makers themselves.

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    The show saw over 3,500 visitors in just the first day and our exhibit was in constant motion with Makers and Retailers connecting over the new and innovative products lining our shelves. We're we so excited to meet so many Main Street Retailers. Our favorite interaction of the day just might be when speaking to one Retailer, she told us: "It's like fate that we just met you. Your products are exactly what I'm looking for."

    The Grommet Wholesale at NYNOW

    It's a great feeling connecting Retailers with our Makers and the grins on our Makers faces speak volumes. They are enjoyed the show just as much as we did.

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  • The Maker Movement: Our Future Economy (An Infographic)

    Maker Movement | Infographic: The Grommet

    CLICK ON IMAGE AND THEN ZOOM TO ENLARGE

    If you read our blog regularly,  you know that we've discussed the impact (and importance) of the Maker Movement before. The innovative, new-to-market products coming from this movement are the reason we do business every day and we're certain this is not just a passing trend. Today we're unveiling a visual representation of the Maker Movement; its impact on consumer products, manufacturing, retail, and our economy as a whole. Whether you're a Maker, Retailer, or consumer, you're touched by this movement and we are eager to share how through this infographic.

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